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OAQ

Occasionally Asked Questions

What are your beliefs?
Where do we start?   Jesus, of course!  We unreservedly say this: the only conclusion we can draw from the facts about Jesus of Nazareth is that he is this world’s only hope, the one who came from heaven to show us the way to heaven, who came from God to show us God, who died for us so we would live for him, who rose from the grave to confirm for all time that he is indeed the Messiah, the Son of the living God. 

Furthermore, we are convinced that scripture (that is, The Bible) is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in right-living [2 Timothy 3:16].  That is, we believe the scriptures are a revelation of God's message to humankind, and that the message which Jesus Christ sent his apostles out to teach everyone everywhere is the faith once for all delivered to the saints, the teaching to which we should continually devote ourselves [Acts 2:42; Romans 6:17; 2 Peter 1:2-3,15; Jude 3].

Any of our beliefs flow from that starting point.  If Jesus said it, we believe it.  If God's word says it, we believe it.  We know there are systems of doctrine which people have developed over the centuries since, but any human doctrine or creed will inevitably fall short of what God's Spirit has revealed to us in scripture, so we are not wedded to any such doctrine or creed.  "God has spoken", and we want to stick with what God has said.

How are you different to other churches? 
There are lots of churches out there, and they differ from each other widely, so how we are different to others depends on which church you're comparing us to.  Some noticeable differences are:
  • We are not part of any denomination, for we don't see anything in scripture supporting the existence of denominations.  Jesus built his church [Matthew 16:18] and nobody could better that, so that's all we want to be a part of.
  • We don't actually have a name, because in the scriptures we see Christ's church didn't in the first century.  They most often just called it "the church" {or "congregation" or "assembly", depending on your translation}, but there's a range of other descriptions they used as well, and we're happy to call ourselves any of them.  "Church of Christ" is another way of saying "Christ's church", and since we're content to simply be that, we use that description on things like this site.  We say a bit more about that here
  • We don't have a clergy/laity divide or a "pastor system".  Scripture says that all members are priests [1 Peter 2:5,9] so we actually don't have any laity!  And "pastor" is just an old word for shepherd, and that's what elders do in a congregation.  They shepherd the flock, and they're called shepherds; so scripturally speaking, the elders in a congregation are the "pastors".  [See 1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:28]
  • We don't have a written creed or "statement of faith" other than the apostles' teaching.  History shows that when you draw up a statement of faith, you start defending that, rather than the faith itself; and people start squabbling over whose statement of faith is better.  The perfect statement of faith would say exactly what the scriptures say...so why not just use the scriptures?  They are what give us wisdom so that we can be saved through faith in Christ Jesus [2 Timothy 3:15].  No humanly authored "statement of faith" can do that.
  • We try to avoid adding to or taking away from what God has told us to do, and consequently people notice that what we do is very basic — pure and simple without embellishments.  We just do what God tells us to do, because we love him and trust him.  [John 14:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:4; 1 John 5:3; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Deut 5:32; Hebrews 5:9; Romans 1:5; 6:17-18...etc. etc...]
  • Therefore our assemblies are not shows, or anything elaborate.  They're not for entertainment; they're for edification and encouragement
    [1 Corinthians 14:26c] and of course for God's glory [1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 4:11].  We're here to please God, not our own whims and wishes.  That's a difference people notice about us.
  • Another difference Sunday visitors have commented on is that we share the Lord's Supper every Sunday.  We're told this is not very common, but we're just following what we read in the New Testament scriptures: "On the first day of the week...the disciples came together to break bread" [Acts 20:7].

Are you a charismatic church?
In the biblical sense, yes, for the scriptures teach that each member of the body has gifts [charismata — Romans 12:6-8].  But if you mean in the "pentecostal" sense, no.  "Pentecostal" isn't a word found in scripture anyway, so we don't see why we would use the term.  (Some of us are ex-pentecostal, but everyone's ex-something, aren't they?)

Where do you meet?
Most of our gatherings happen in homes, and they are spread from the bay to east of Cranbourne.  On Sundays we usually meet at 10am in Carrum Hall, which is just off Dyson Road, near the corner of Walkers Road, Carrum.  It's always best to check with us first, in case we're doing something different that week.

Do you have a Christmas service?
No.  If individuals choose to observe that day (or any other), Romans 14:5-7 says they are at liberty to do so, and those who do not are also free to not do so.  Because it's an individual choice, we respect that and don't do anything to impose Christmas on members one way or the other.

What about Easter?
We commemorate and celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first day of every week, following the guidance of the scriptures.  Doing it once a year is not what the scriptures tell us to do.